Your Advice Needed: Prank Emergency

March 9, 2018 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

EMERGENCY, friends. We have an emergency, and your advice is needed.

You may have heard that Easter is on April Fool’s Day this year. THIS GIVES US BARELY OVER 3 WEEKS to create a Master Prank Plan to Fool the Children. This is TIME SENSITIVE, folks. We have Things to Do, Plots to Scheme, and not a whole lot of time in which to accomplish it. I feel like it would be ungrateful to the cosmos that went to so much trouble to align these two events to waste this opportunity. I also feel like Jesus would want us to celebrate his resurrection by tricking small humans. I mean, WWJD, right? J is cheering us on here. I’m sure of it.

Here’s the thing, though; we need to make this April Fool’s Easter-specific. THEMED pranks, if you will. The plastic wrap on the toilet seat and the rubber band on the kitchen sprayer are good tricks for a Regular April Fool’s Day; I just feel like they’re insufficient for EASTER April Fool’s, you know? Like we’re required to step up our game here and make this super Easter-y.

Our family usually does Extreme Egg Hunts, Hunger Games Style, so our kids are primed for egg hunting as a full contact sport. We make all the kids stuff the eggs (because that’s a lot of work, man, and we had children for the free labor), and then the adults head outside to hide them in trees, on roofs, duct taped to top of the swing set; basically anywhere our children must risk life and limb to retrieve them. Obviously, this can take us a significant amount of time involving, as it does, ladders, rope, tape, and the occasional garden hose. 

I feel like the Easter Egg Hunt is a prime opportunity to commit acts of foolery this year. Like, the kids can stuff all the eggs per usual, and then we can swap those eggs with pebble-stuffed eggs for the actual hiding. OR we can simply take all the eggs under the premise of “hiding” and make a run for it. The kids won’t notice we’re gone for at least 20 minutes. We can head to a neighbor’s house, hide the eggs there instead and have a glass of wine while the kids try to find us. That feels like a win/win, you know?

BUT THAT’S ALL I’VE GOT so far. Two egg-related ideas. Which is why I NEED YOUR HELP, friends. I need a more comprehensive plan. I need better tricks. I need more tom-foolery. I need bigger ways to celebrate the Risen Savior by pulling one over on my kids.

EMERGENCY. TIME SENSITIVE. Help a mama out?? What ideas do you have?

With great anticipation,

 

 

 

P.S. I do have some teeny, tiny rules for pranks. I don’t like pranks that make people feel stupid or that make them feel sad. Except for the time I made Greg feel sad by faking the purchase of a miniature horse and having it delivered to our house. In my defense, he had it coming by telling me I couldn’t have one. I really had no choice. Pranks that force children to run all over the neighborhood to find the egg hunt I stole? Approved. Pranks that make them think it’s canceled altogether? I can’t do it. I’m too much of a softy. But other than sadness or making people feel dumb, I’m all ears. Minor physical jeopardy is fine. Emotional jeopardy, not so much. I can’t wait to hear your ideas. 

Easy Peasy, Two Ingredient Jam Tart

December 21, 2017 in Food by Beth Woolsey

Alright, folks. It’s 5 days ‘til Christmas, and I don’t know about you, but I still have 85,000 things to do and the energy for, like, 6 of them. It’s OK, though. I am not panicking, and do you know why? Because I intend to half-ass All the Things from here on out. I will give partial effort that LOOKS like full effort. I will do what delights me and spreads magic, and I will let go of all the things that do not qualify.

My house is partially decorated, and that’s AWESOME. Let’s hear it for PARTIALLY! We put up our lights six weeks ago and left a string dangling because we intended to put up more. Half of those have burnt out now, and the other half are dimming and on the way toward death. In other words, you can tell by looking at the outside of our house that WE TRIED, DAMMIT, and that is good enough for me, friends. Good enough for me.

My tree is up and lit, there are stockings hung by the chimney without care because I CANNOT CARE ABOUT EVERYTHING, and there’s still a giant garland in a heap in a corner of the family room — one we got out of its box on November 1st — that hasn’t made it to the mantel. You know what we’re going to say about that? THAT I AM SO GOOD AT DECORATING, I’M EVEN MAKING SURE THE CORNERS HAVE GARLANDS. I hereby declare myself the Queen of Half-Assery, and I am content.

So. In that spirit, I offer you this easy, peasy, two ingredient jam tart that looks Very Fancy, tastes delicious, but is still completely and utterly a half-assed effort. It is, in other words, one of my favorite desserts of all time.

Easy Peasy, Two Ingredient Jam Tart

Ingredients:
1. Jam
2. Frozen Pie Dough

I prefer to use Marie Calendar’s pie dough because they bake up flakey and perfect like my mom’s pie crust, but with, like, ZERO work. Any pre-made pie dough will work, though.

Directions:

1. Thaw pie dough. Since Ms. Calendar puts hers in a disposable tin, I pop them out of the tin still frozen and let them thaw so I can mush them into my own pie plate, thus making this dessert look fully homemade and procuring credit I don’t deserve. WIN/WIN.

2. When soft, mush it into your own pie plate, cutting off the top edge. (This is a thin tart, so you don’t need the excess dough, plus you’ll use it in a minute to be Extra Fancy.)

3. Add 1 cup of jam, any flavor and spread it into the crust. My favorite is a berry mix or lemon curd. OMG, SO GOOD.

4. Roll the remaining dough into a ball, roll out to 1/8” (3mm), and, using whatever cookie cutter you decide is fanciest, cut a few shapes to decorate the top of the tart.

5. Optional, depending on how fancy you want to be: brush crust with egg and sprinkle with sugar.

6. Bake at 425F (220C) for 10 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 375 and bake 15-20 more minutes. Remove from the oven when the crust is browned and the jam is bubbling. Let cool, then cut and serve.

Serves 4. Since the Marie Calendar’s pie crusts come in sets of 2, I make at least 2 at a time.

ALTERNATIVELY — I just made these last night, and I bypassed steps 2 and 4. EVEN EASIER. I rolled the dough into a circle approximately 1/8” (3mm) thick, put it on a greased baking sheet, put the jam in the middle, spread it to within 2-3” (50-75mm) of the edges, then folded the dough edges over, galette style, to make a rustic tart, instead. It was SUPER easy and worked beautifully. Of course, I only remembered to take a picture before I baked it — HELLO, HALF-ASSERY — but this will still give you a good idea of what I’m talking about:

(Psst…She was REALLY pretty with egg wash and sugar, all bubbly and brown from the oven. You’ll just have to imagine with me.)

In conclusion, friends, half-assery for the win! And Merry Christmas to all. Unless Christmas isn’t your jam, in which case I still recommend jam tart. And half-assery. 

X’s and O’s,

 

 

 

P.S. You can find all the Easy Peasy recipes — including my other holiday favorite, Two Ingredient Fudge — by clicking here. Enjoy!

Happy Independence… From the Christians

July 4, 2017 in Beth, But Seriously, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I feel like it’s safe to say there are two kinds of people in this world: those who would never, ever, EVER laugh at people who experience developmental delay — you know, the conscientious, compassionate, kind type of person — and Terrible People like me.

It’s just that my two kiddos with disability have been entrenched in an argument that’s lasted days. They’ve yelled at each other. They’ve called each other names in ragey voices. They’ve rolled their eyes. They’ve tried to bait the rest of us into taking sides. And still it’s not settled why we’re celebrating Independence Day on July 4th.

Aden insists we’re celebrating independence from the Christians. Ian says we’re celebrating independence from the Nazis.

For a while, they were blaming the Jews, but they believed me when I said that wasn’t it. Whew! On the other hand, my contention that we’re celebrating independence from the British was met with unified derision. It was ridiculous when I suggested we’d need to be independent from the Land of Crumpets and Tea. I mean, what could we possibly be fighting against the British for? Their use of “chips” instead of “fries?” Their corner on the digestives market? No. Mom clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about. At least they agree on something.

Ian: It is the Nazis, Aden.

Aden: IT’S THE CHRISTIANS.

Ian: Nazis.

Aden: CHRISTIANS.

Ian: Evwebody knows Nazis are bad guys, Aden. Evwebody.

Aden: It’s the CHRISTIANS. … Wait. Mom, are we the Christians?

Me: I am, Aden. You get to pick.

Aden: Oh. KILL THE NAZIS then. KILL THEM DEAD. KILL, KILL, KILL.

Ian: Ha! I told you! It’s NAZIS. HAhahahaha! I am wight and you wong! Ha, Aden. HA!

Aden: Wait. No. KILL THE CHRISTIANS. Except Mom. KILL ALL THE CHRISTIANS EXCEPT MOM. Unless I’m a Christian. Then we KILL ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE.

In conclusion, even though I keep laughing at them, I feel like my kids have a general bloodthirsty grasp on this whole Independence Day thing and also theological schisms in general… Christians who flee religious persecution from Other Christians and arrive in a new land to persecute and massacre others.

I feel like we’re really slow learners, guys.

Also, I made blueberry cake to celebrate. And I’m going to go have a beer.

Wishing you a Happy Independence Day, fellow Americans!

With love,

 

The Importance and Meaning of Rainbows: An Essay by an 8-Year-Old Boy

June 27, 2015 in Beth, But Seriously, Family by Beth Woolsey

Dear Friends,

I came home from work yesterday to this.

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My dog dyed rainbow.

Given the SCOTUS ruling yesterday that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, I thought my kids might be celebrating. You know, being timely! And up to date on current events! I don’t know how I thought they would’ve picked up that news from playing Minecraft all day, but a mama can hope her babies pay attention to Supreme Court decisions while she’s at work, can’t she? Then it occurred to me that the last time the kids dyed the dog, it was to paint flames down his sides, and I didn’t assume they were celebrating arson. So I asked them why they did it. Why did they paint the dog to look like a rainbow? Other than the obvious, of course; that they had a) paint and b) a dog. 

So we sat outside late at night as the heat faded and so did the sun, and we talked about rainbows. Rainbows and color. Rainbows and God. Rainbows and people. Rainbows and life and how we approach each other with compassion and kindness. And this morning, Cai, one of our 8-year-olds, sat down to write you this essay. Cai’s last essay here was co-written with his twin brother. It was about Penis Tendons. Because I told them, if they wanted to guest post on this blog, they must choose an important topic, spell words correctly, pay attention to sentence craft and structure, have a POINT and a conclusion, and it had to be about be about something that will improve the lives of others. So, Penis Tendons, obviously. Since then, they’ve tossed around the idea of guest posting again, but the writing muse eluded them. Until now. 

And so, because Cai asked, and because Cai has important and wise things to say, I give you Cai’s Essay on The Importance and Meaning of Rainbows. 

With love,

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The Importance and Meaning of Rainbows
by Cai Woolsey, age 8

Yesterday my brother Cael and me dyed Chip’s hair rainbow. Chip is our dog. He is friendly and nice but not always. He is white with curly hair. He is 9 years old and he barks for five minutes at a stranger but after that he cools down.

Our friend Kasey helped dye Chip’s ears and the top of his head red, and we used her hair dye.

We painted the dog because I thought it would be a good surprise on my parents, and I thought it would be a good look on Chip. We think it is.

Other kids should and shouldn’t dye their dogs. You shouldn’t dye your dog because if your dog doesn’t have white hair it wouldn’t look so good, but if your dog does have white hair it would look great, so then you should.

Let’s talk about the importance of rainbows. I dyed my dog rainbow because I like rainbows. They are full of beautiful colors that are all different.

In the Bible, the rainbow symbolizes new life. Do you remember the story of Noah’s Ark? The story of Noah’s Ark is about Noah and his family building a huge wooden boat, and God tells Noah to gather two of each animal and put it in the boat. His family gets on the boat with him and there is a huge flood that floods the whole earth. After the flood there is a rainbow and the rainbow is a symbol of new life and promise that God would never flood the earth again.

In America, rainbows symbolize that a boy and a boy can get married and a girl and a girl can get married if they want to. I think that it’s a good idea because if a girl and a girl or a boy and a boy are in love that they should be allowed to get married.

Rainbows are the most cool in science because you get to see that light is made up of the colors of the rainbow. All of the colors are very different and beautiful, and the rainbow is the most beautiful of all because it is all the colors together. It is just like God shining through us. We are all different and beautiful, and we’re even more beautiful all together.

I think rainbows remind us of the Fruit of the Spirit which is in the Bible, too. Those are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

Some people say rainbows are a girl thing. They are wrong because PEOPLE CAN LIKE ANYTHING NO MATTER WHAT.

This story is important because I hope that people will think differently about rainbows. Rainbows are for all people. They are about love and light and God and new life. You should never misjudge a rainbow; it’s like never judge a book by its cover. What you find inside is most important.

……….

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Cai Woolsey is 8 years old.

When he grows up, he wants to be a doctor because he likes being around people, talking to them, and helping them.

Cai likes to type essays while sporting pink and blue nail polish and wearing his shirt backwards on purpose. At age 6, he coined the phrase, “All the colors are for all the people,” a slogan he lives by today. 

This Is for All the Parents Who Aren’t Ready for Easter, Either

April 3, 2015 in Beth, But Seriously, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

It’s Good Friday which, yes, is the day Jesus died on the cross, but that’s not important right now**, because Good Friday is ALSO is the day well-intentioned mamas like me die a little inside when we realize we have done nothing — nothing — to prepare for Sunday’s Easter celebration.

No eggs.

No candy.

ID-100194758No dresses.

No suits.

No bonnets.

No hot cross buns.

No chocolate bunnies.

No ham.

No lamb. 

Nothing.

Just nada.

Zilch and zip.

And then we get a little stressed out and a tiny bit overwhelmed because we wonder how — how — we will resurrect this thing by Sunday.

We’re sure it’s not possible.

I mean, our expectations are just dead, man. Not to be dramatic, but we kind of tripped, and face-planted, and landed hard, and smashed our expectations all over the ground, and now they are DEAD-dead, and the skies darken.

It is BAD, friends. BAD NEWS. Rather hopeless. Just AWFUL.

We descend into Mama Expectations Hell.

……….

And I know you won’t believe me about this next part. That’s OK. I never believe me, either. What I’m about to tell us is, after all, unbelievable. 

But I have lived through Mama Expectations Hell, and here’s what I’ve discovered…

……….

We will rise again. 

SOMEHOW, unbelievably, we will rise again. 

BECAUSE WE HAVE MIRACLE POWERS, friends.

TRUE STORY.

We have miracle powers — all is not lost, after all — and WE WILL RISE from what we knew was certain death. WE WILL KEEP ON RISING, too, because this doesn’t apply just to the Easter Plan and the Eggs and the Baskets. 

No; we will keep rising on repeat. Over and over. Dying to Expectations. Dying to Ourselves. Dying to How We Thought This Life Would Be and WHO We Thought We’d Be in It. Descending into All Kinds of Hell. And Rising Again. 

You know why? 

Because we are a Resurrection People.

Because we believe in Unreasonable Hope.

Because we have learned what it is to Release Expectations and the Things That Tie Us to the Tomb. 

Because we have learned to look for the Things That Matter instead of the Shoulds and Ought Tos. 

We do something that matters — sometimes one thing — and we discover it’s enough. 

^^^^MIRACLE, I TELL YOU! ^^^^

So I have planned nothing for Easter, friends. Not one single thing. 

My kids are going to go to church on Sunday in — and I’m not kidding here — whatever they want to wear, which will undoubtedly include jeans with holes in the knees and shoes covered in duct tape. 

I will — almost certainly — boil some eggs over the next couple days, and we’ll dye them or we won’t, and Easter will come anyway.

We’ll dine on Sunday on… food. Whatever I find in the freezer and the cupboards that makes the least number kids say EW. 

We’ll hide Easter baskets for the kids to find, probably even with something in them. 

And we’ll talk about resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus, yes, and the resurrection of us, too, and we’ll celebrate the hell out of rising from the dead. 

That will be our One Thing That Matters. 

So, in case you, like me, are unprepared for Easter, know this: you are not alone. We can sit here together and wait for the dawn, which always comes after the dark. And we can celebrate the hell out of rising from the dead.

With love,

Signature 

 

 

**Sometimes I make Jesus feel sad. Sorry, Jesus. 

……….

Image credit “Part Of Eggshell Broken On White Floor” by Keerati via freedigitalimages.net

3 Wise Men and a Virgin Are Coming to My Church; You Should, Too

December 18, 2014 in Family by Beth Woolsey

I’m not saying my church is better than your church, I’m just saying that one pastor at my church (let’s call him “Nate”) recently found another pastor’s email (let’s call him “Paul”) left open and sent a message from Paul to his two adult sons disclosing Paul’s recent breast augmentation surgery.

Which Paul did not have.

Which is why that’s HILARIOUS. 

Gosh, I love my church.

We are weird weirdos who are weird.

And funny.

We are weird weirdos who are weird and funny and not afraid to play.

More churches should try that tack. The whole Be Your Weird Self approach. And Laugh. And Play. Someone should probably elect me President of Church, is what I’m saying. We’d send bizarre emails to each other’s family members. And tuna casserole would be BANNED FOREVER. And the punch would be full strength. And there’d be real half and half for the coffee. And we’d host weekly Beer and Bible Study; heavier on the beer or the Bible, depending on the week. And I’d award bonus points for every person willing to tell an embarrassing story out loud in front of the congregation; it’d be a Regular Sunday Feature like the Offering or Announcements or the Sermon or Prayer… except it would be Embarrassing Story Time and we’d have to provide good quality tissues for laughing ’til we cry, and maybe some inconspicuous absorbent pads on the pews for those of us who laugh ’til pee. And on sunny, warm Sundays, we’d ditch the plan and the building entirely and go lay flat on the lawn, and not care about grass stains or dew or children jumping over our heads, and we’d stare up at the sky and tell wild truths about being both lost and found at the same time, which is grace. 

In addition to being weird weirdos who are weird, though, we have some amazing musicians at my church. Like, professional musicians… recording artists… members of the Portland Symphonic Choir… blah-di-blah-blah blah… and, along with their completely talented musician friends (of whom I’m surprisingly not one), they’ve put together a series of Christmas Concerts which I’m telling you about for two specific reasons.

  1. 3WisemenandaVirginTheir group name is 3 Wise Men and a Virgin** which is, obviously, the VERY BEST name for a 6-person music group EVER. 
  2. 3 Wise Men and a Virgin** are playing in the Portland, Oregon area this weekend, including at my church on Sunday, and I’d love for you to join us for the concert and hang-out time afterwards.

 

**P.S. The group name is technically not 3 Wise Men and a Virgin. That name was proposed and discarded in favor of “Eclectic Christmas,” which may be more accurately descriptive but isn’t nearly as entertaining. Whatever. I’m still calling it 3 Wise Men and a Virgin, and you can, too.

P.P.S. In case you want more details, here’s the scoop: Eclectic Christmas 3 Wise Men and a Virgin is a Christmas concert for all ages, with music from jazz to folk to blues and everywhere in between. The group is comprised of Aaron Pruitt, Frank Verhoorn, Nate Macy, Nathanael Ankeny, MelissaThomas, and Nolan Staples. Desserts to follow the concert on Sunday evening. $10 suggested donation.

Friday, December 19, 7:00pm: West Hills Friends Church
7425 SW 52nd Ave, Portland, Oregon

Saturday, December 20, 7:00pm: Newberg Friends Church
307 S College St, Newberg, Oregon

Sunday, December 21, 7:00pm: North Valley Friends Church
4020 N College St, Newberg, Oregon

(CAUTION: They’re letting Woolseys attend that last one. You’ve been warned.)

P.P.P.S. All the best bands have riders attached to their contracts so their needs are met. Through secret sources, I obtained a copy of the Backstage Rider for 3 Wise Men and a Virgin. 

The following are the expectations of you as the host for Eclectic Christmas 3 Wise Men and a Virgin:
  1. You will provide cash in the following amounts for our merchandise table: 17 $1 bills, 14 $5, 2 $10, 3.5 $20, 7 $50, 32 $2 bills, and 7 quarters. This can be Monopoly money as the merch table is imaginary.
  2. We will sign autographs provided Nate has a minder since he can’t spell his own name.
  3. We do not require food, but there should be a veggie platter. The platter must not include carrots, broccoli, celery, snap peas, peppers, or cherry tomatoes. 
  4. In and Out Burger is our preferred catering institution. Nolan insists on pickles. Aaron will not eat anything that has been in a bag with any pickle products and consequently will not play due to emotional upheaval.
  5. Melissa requires the green room to literally be green and kept at 65.7 degrees.
  6. Frank prefers to be called Jim.
  7. Nathanael’s children often have serious communicable diseases. They will require oxygen tents but need to be in the front row. There are restraining orders against his parents seeing the kids, so they will need to sit behind the organ and have an usher blindfold them. Nate’s uncle has a violent dislike of Nolan’s mother so they will need to be monitored and seated at least 50 yards from each other.
  8. Our sound person, Joel, will only answer to the Spanish pronunciation of his name and is likely to charge anyone wearing red.
  9. All power outlets will need to be 220 volts with a provided 110 watt diffuser.
  10. We require spouses to be checked in with their names written on masking tape and placed on their backs. Spouses will only be released from the care of the meeting with an approved signature.

P.P.P.P.S. I can’t be held responsible for what I or my children will wear to the concert. I’ve got one who plans to wear her dragon wings and tail, one who’s back in love with his kilt which is now a mini-kilt since it’s 4 sizes too small, and I can’t guarantee I won’t have given up on real clothes and be back in my pajamas by 7pm on Sunday. Just saying – you get what you get, friends, and All Hail the Weird Weirdos Who Are Weird!

P.P.P.P.P.S. I hope to see you there. 

 

3WisemenandaVirgin

 

 

 
 

Happy Classy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2014 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Let’s say, hypothetically, your cousins showed up at your house last Thanksgiving in a massive RV and made references all weekend to the Griswolds and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

GriswoldRV“That there’s an RV, Clark.”
“Yeah, Eddie. It looks so nice parked in front of the house.”
“Sure does, but don’t you go fallin’ in love with it, now,
’cause we’re taking it with us when we leave here next month.”

And then let’s say you have the opportunity to borrow an airporter — you know, those enormous, bulky, sexy shuttle buses? woot woo! — to make the 6-hour drive to see said cousins this year which means you can totally, completely WIN the Classy Cousins Contest. For, like, ALL TIME.

ClassyThanksgiving2

I think you’re pretty much obligated to do it, right?

ClassyThanksgiving1

RIGHT.

And to spend the 6 hours on the road making important announcements over the intercom? 

ClassyThanksgiving5

Yep. That’s what I thought, too. But I just thought I’d check.

In short, 

Happy Classy Thanksgiving
from our family to yours

ClassyThanksgiving3

Wishing you all a fabulous time.

xoxo,
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P.S. We may or may not have used the wheelchair straps in the back to secure the keg of home brew we brought. Just saying – we TOTALLY win.

………

Griswold RV photo credit Old Navy